Tony Moore, the British-born sculptor whose solo show opened May 12 at the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum brings a burly, Cedar Bar-like New York School sense of creativity that’s drawn such adjectives as “heroic,” “confrontational, “elegant,” “minimalist,” “substantial” and even “delicately detailed” to reviews of his work.
The show opened alongside a Main Gallery group show juried by Marist College art professor Ed Smith, an non-juried small works show downstairs, as well as an exhibit of Saugerties High School thesis pieces in the YES gallery.
“My work is concerned with the relationship of humanity and nature. I conceive of an expanded concept of ‘Nature’ as embodying all existence, both the seen and unseen, socio-political events, daily occurrences, as well as private intuitions that are made concrete through creative action,” Moore says of his home-fired clay works, which have made their way into some top museums from his Cold Spring studio and kiln for the past two decades, following a quarter century in New York City. “In recent works I reference a meaningful text from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: ‘History will have to record the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the vitriolic words and other violent actions of the bad people but the appalling silence and indifference of the good people…’ My concern within this realm of possibilities is that the object’s primary function is the expansion of awareness. My work is not about it but because of it.”
Moore started his art studies in Wales, received an MFA from Yale, moved from hand-worked clay to other sculptural media and painting, then back to clay in a mountaintop studio and Japanese-style Anagama-Noborigama wood-fire kiln where his firings have become communal events. His works have ended up in the collections of the Guggenheim and Brooklyn museums, alongside several back in his land of birth.
“I am often asked whether wood-fired results are arbitrary or made by chance. My answer is at least twofold. The first is that wood-firing is an organic and elemental process in the sense of it using the base elements of clay (earth/water), air (oxygen), wood (fuel) and fire (combustion/energy) interacting within the kiln. The interrelationship of these elements and how one manipulates them is crucial to the end result,” Moore has written of what he does, and the lessons he’s found in his own art-making. “One uses knowledge and intuition based on past results. It is also rather like the artist Jackson Pollock dripping paint. While Salvador Dali might have used a small brush, surely the parameters of control are only a matter of degrees…”
All shows will be on view until early June.